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How mock interviews support career readiness for high schoolers

For students in our Career Readiness Academy, mock interviews are more than just a practice run – they’re a safe space to explore their potential, polish their skills and practice professional communication.

In today’s fast-paced world where first impressions can make or break opportunities, these workshops help students build confidence and prepare for real-world challenges ahead. They also offer a unique opportunity for volunteers to engage with the next generation, sharing their expertise and learning in the process.

Thank you to all of our volunteers! These workshops rely on people like you donating your time and talent. We appreciate you, and so do these students!


More workshop photos can be found at the end of this story.

The mock interview experience

Participating in mock interviews can be a transformative experience for students. It’s during these three 7-minute interviews that they learn the subtle art of making eye contact, the importance of speaking confidently about their achievements, and how to navigate common interview questions.

I loved the workshop, as it progressed I gained confidence and it became much easier.

– Laura M., BVSD student

Students often start the workshop with a mix of excitement and nervousness, but as they engage in simulated interviews, receive feedback, and observe their peers, a profound change occurs. They leave the workshop not just with enhanced interview skills, but a newfound confidence in their ability to communicate their ideas and aspirations.

I really liked how many different interviewers there were to get multiple perspectives. 

– Henry D., BVSD Student

Our workshop volunteers bring diverse professional backgrounds to the experience and also find the workshops to be rewarding. Volunteers witness firsthand the eagerness and potential of the students and get to provide constructive feedback and share insights from their own experiences. The workshops are a reminder of the diverse paths to success and the importance of guidance and encouragement in shaping young careers.

Laying the groundwork for success

Mock interviews are just one of 10 workshops that make up the Career Readiness Academy, helping ensure students are adequately prepared for the interviews. Before this workshop students have explored their purpose and passions, learned about possible careers and BVSD opportunities that can support them, and practiced professional communication and interview skills.

One of the most important steps students take during the Career Readiness Academy is creating a resume. 

[I was surprised] how much they progressed from the first round to the third round of interviews. And how well prepared their resumes were!

– Erika W., Mock Interview Volunteer

Learning how to highlight their skills, experiences and achievements prepares them for the immediate task of presenting themselves professionally, but also instills a sense of confidence and self-awareness. 

More than just interview skills

For students these workshops extend beyond the goal of improving interview skills – the feedback and process often sparks self-reflection and personal growth. They also serve as a platform for networking, allowing students to connect with professionals who can offer guidance, mentorship, and sometimes even opportunities for internships or jobs.

The experience was eye-opening around what I thought I knew about teenagers. It was positive and exciting to learn more about IOE, and the volunteer team was energized, positive, and varied, which was great to experience and be part of.

– Emily T., Mock Interview Volunteer

[I enjoyed] the variety and the opportunity to speak to the kids. I never find myself interacting with students in that age group so it was a lovely step out of my norm.

– Kyle A., Mock Interview Volunteer

For volunteers the experience is equally enriching. Engaging with students allows them to give back to the community in a meaningful way, sharing their knowledge and experiences to help shape the workforce of tomorrow. It also offers them a fresh perspective on the challenges and aspirations of this younger generation.

A foundation for future success

Mock interview workshops show the value of practical, experiential learning.They underscore the importance of preparation, practice, and feedback in finding professional success, and offer both students and volunteers an invaluable experience that resonates long after the interviews are over.

Hearing the students describe what they learned from the interviews was the best part!

– Erika W., Mock Interview Volunteer

Through all of the Career Readiness Academy workshops, the journey of career exploration and personal growth goes hand in hand, laying a solid foundation for future success.

Photo Gallery

Click on any photo below to enlarge.

BEFORE YOU GO

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to marginalized students across the Boulder Valley School District?

Helping students make informed decisions about their futures

In today’s ever-evolving workforce, preparing high school students for the challenges and opportunities beyond graduation is more important than ever.

An after-school program – our Career Readiness Academy – is providing high school students with knowledge, connections, and resources to help them make informed decisions about their futures. Now in its third year, this year’s Academy will enroll 75 students from three schools across Boulder Valley School District: Boulder High, Centaurus High and Broomfield High. 

Impact on Education is committed to providing high school students with training and resources to empower them for their lives after high school. Students that participate in the Career Readiness Academy will explore interests and opportunities they may not have considered or been exposed to, that are available for them to pursue in high school and beyond.

Gaining professional skills and boosting self-confidence

Through a series of ten after-school workshops participants will build self-confidence and self-knowledge throughout the Career Readiness Academy. Students will:

The program places a strong emphasis on developing professional skills that transcend academic knowledge. Students will not only gain valuable insights into what employers look for but also build the confidence needed to thrive.

Recruiting students for the Career Readiness Academy

While all 10th-grade students are encouraged to apply, priority will be given to those facing financial hardship and/or first-generation students, ensuring that opportunities are extended to those who may benefit the most.

To further encourage participation, the program offers a $300 stipend, contingent on attendance. This not only recognizes the commitment of the students but also helps in making the program accessible to a broader range of participants.

How to apply
The deadline to apply for the Career Readiness Academy is Monday, October 23, 2023. Students can click here to apply.

BEFORE YOU GO

Impact on Education is an independent non-profit supporting the Boulder Valley School District. We depend on the support of our community to put our mission into action. Will you help us provide opportunities and resources to marginalized students across the Boulder Valley School District?

Teaching professional skills and inspiring confidence in high school students

As a high school student, you were probably starting to think about your future. Maybe you had some ideas about what you wanted to do, but didn’t know where to start. That’s exactly what our Career Readiness Academy teaches BVSD high school students – where to get started.

What is the Career Readiness Academy?

Through a series of after-school workshops, students learn how to identify and explore their interests and strengths, where to look for jobs and opportunities, how to fill out and submit applications, how to write a resume, and how to introduce and present oneself at an interview.

The workshops are delivered in partnership with industry and community professionals who know firsthand how the application of these skills leads to success.

We asked this year’s students how they would describe the program to a friend:

“It helps students who don’t have help or resources and provides people with opportunities.”

“It is a program that will help you learn more about resumes, interviews, and internships that will ease your anxiety about the world.“

“It’s a great program that helps those who don’t have much help in learning about things like college and interviews.”

“A program that teaches you how to be professional but also inspires you to have confidence when applying for a job.“

“It helps those who don’t have the resources and provides people with opportunities.”

Who can participate in the Career Readiness Academy?

The Career Readiness Academy targets 10th and 11th grade students with an openness to learn, explore and share, prioritizing those whose families are facing financial challenges. This year’s program enrolled 60 students at three schools – Centaurus High School, New Vista High School and Boulder High School – 70% of whom qualify for Free and Reduced Price Meals.

Student learning and growth

We survey students at the beginning and end of the program to assess their knowledge of and experiences with the program content. At the end of this year’s program:

“I was reminded that every person was once a young kid looking and striving to better themselves and their lives.”

Mock Interview Volunteer, 2022-23 Career Readiness Academy

Next year’s Academy

As we look ahead to our third Career Readiness Academy cohort, we continue to improve the content and structure of the program to ensure students are receiving the best possible experience.

Next year’s Academy content will expand to include writing cover letters and practicing networking, while also offering support and tips for accessing BVSD’s Grad Plus opportunities, such as work-based learning experiences and earning college credits during high school.

BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is a nonprofit organization, and we depend on our community to help us put our mission into action. We need your help to to provide opportunity and resources to 29,000 students and 4,000 educators in the Boulder Valley School District.

3 ways we’re making a difference in 2023

Last year held many challenges for our community and our organization, but our commitment to creating opportunity for success, from preschool through graduation, supported BVSD students furthest from resources. If you haven’t already flipped through our 2022 Impact Report, we encourage you to see what we accomplished last year.

While we’re continuing to support recovery from the Marshall Fire, gearing up to recognize educators at the 2023 Impact Awards, planning our summer school supply distribution Crayons to Calculators, and preparing another round of our Academic Opportunity Fund, there are three important areas we’re excited to invest in this year.

1. Mental health and wellness

Our investment in four Mental Health Advocates supporting the schools most impacted by the Marshall Fire continues through the summer, and this spring we plan to offer educational opportunities for parents around adolescent and teen mental health. We’re also eager to start raising the funds to continue the Wellness Center at Monarch High School and expand it to BVSD’s other four large high schools (Broomfield, Centaurus, Fairview and Boulder) in the 2023-24 school year.

2. Career readiness

Over the next few months, we’re convening over 20 Career Readiness Academy workshops at three BVSD high schools. This program will help 60 students gain the skills, confidence and knowledge to pursue summer job and internship opportunities. Meanwhile, we are continuing to support the rollout of the GradPlus program. This includes identifying the improvements needed at BVSD’s middle and high schools to support career and technical education pathways and programs.

3. Early childhood education

This year our early learning program for incoming BVSD kindergarten students will shift to a four week, full-day program! We fund Kinder Bridge, now part of BVSD’s summer learning program, because access to early learning is not equitably available to all children who will enroll in the district. Kinder Bridge ensures 160 historically underserved students arrive prepared for school classrooms and excited to learn.

We hope you join us this year in supporting nearly 30,000 students in the Boulder Valley School District. Our work addresses systemic barriers and prioritizes those furthest from resources in order to equalize opportunity and bolster academic success.

Thank you for being part of our community and making investments to help us drive lasting change for students, educators, and our public schools.

BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is a nonprofit organization, and we depend on our community to help us put our mission into action. We need your help to to provide opportunity and resources to 29,000 students and 4,000 educators in the Boulder Valley School District.

Over 60 high schoolers joining this year’s Career Readiness Academy

This month we launched our 2022-23 Career Readiness Academy, a series of after-school workshops that help Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) high school students find and communicate their strengths in order to attain professional opportunities.

Tripling our impact

While last year’s academy was hosted at the BVSD Education Center and served 20 high school students, this year we’re expanding the program and reaching students directly at their schools. We have over 60 students enrolled in three cohorts at Centaurus High School, Boulder High School and New Vista High School.

The program targets students from low-income families as well as those who are historically marginalized, but each cohort welcomes a mix of students from varied backgrounds. Each student brings an openness to learn and explore, and a desire to gain professional skills that will serve them well into the future. 

“The next few months will be a really fun and rewarding time for these students. I’m excited to get to know our students and help build their confidence and professional skills.”

Denise Zapata, IOE Career Readiness Academy Coordinator

Gaining self knowledge and professional skills

So far the students had an orientation and their parents or guardians participated in a family session, so everyone knows what to expect and how to get the most out of the academy. Next year’s sessions will cover:

“As the workplace continues to evolve, it’s more important than ever to help students find their purpose and communicate their value to potential employers. Impact on Education is committed to helping all BVSD students find their path to success.”

Amy Batchelor, Anchor Point Foundation

The importance of college and career readiness

Our Career Readiness Academy supplements district programming to help high school students to learn about possible career pathways after graduation and gain professional soft skills in order to land a job, internship or other opportunity for growth in the near future.

The academy is one part of our work to empower BVSD graduates by providing College and Career Readiness opportunities.

BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is a nonprofit organization, and we depend on our community to help us put our mission into action. We need your help to to provide opportunity and resources to 29,000 students and 4,000 educators in the Boulder Valley School District.

Helping students find their purpose and build confidence

Did someone teach you how to shake hands? When to make a phone call instead of sending an email? How to feel confident in a job interview? These are a few of things students in our Career Readiness Academy have learned over the past two months.

What is the Career Readiness Academy?

We launched the pilot of our Career Readiness Academy in January 2022. This program is designed to provide 20 low-income BVSD high school students with workforce readiness skills, training, and leadership development to help prepare them for success after graduation. 

The sessions are delivered in partnership with industry and community professionals who know firsthand how the application of these skills leads to success. So far, students:

How one student described the most valuable thing they learned:

“Communication, because I didn’t realize I could make a stronger impression from just shaking someone’s hand.”

Career Readiness Participant

What other skills will participants gain?

In the remaining four workshops, Career Readiness Academy students will learn about different skill sets and what jobs they may align with, the impact of social media, and participate in workplace simulations. We’ll also be working closely with our community partners to help students line up summer employment and put all of their new skills to use.

Is your company is interested in supporting our work?
Learn about corporate partnerships >>

Thank you to our Career Readiness Academy sponsors, Anchor Point Foundation, Seagate Technology, Premier Members Credit Union, Cielo Foundation Boulder, and Google. And thank you to IOE volunteer Cathleen Kendall for leading the preparation for our mock interview session last week and the 20 volunteer business leaders who participated.


BEFORE YOU GO …

Impact on Education is a nonprofit organization, and we depend on our community to help us put our mission into action. We support Boulder Valley public school students with community funding and resources in order to meet critical needs and eliminate opportunity gaps. Your support keeps us going strong and your donation will help us equalize opportunity, bolster academic success for local students.

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Impact on Education
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